“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” So begins Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, which depicts the highs and lows of human life in revolutionary France. That sentiment struck me this week as the Drapers team watched in horror the developments unfolding across the country.
The worst was obvious. Many of our readers were caught up in the violence happening across the length and breadth of the country. They were only able to watch as the businesses they had worked tirelessly to build up were smashed and looted. I can only imagine how that feels, and the thoughts of the whole Drapers team continue to be with all of you who have been affected by this.
It is also, at a time when the UK prepares to welcome hundreds of thousands of overseas visitors for the Olympics, a shocking message to send abroad about the state of our society.
However, as is the case in any crisis, we also saw how the worst of times can bring out the best in people, too. Visiting some of the worst-hit areas, reporters from Drapers heard first-hand some of the tales of bravery and kindness that have emerged from this crisis. Retailers helping each other to secure their premises, those unaffected travelling into town centres to help with the clear up, even forming blockades to stop the mob.
Above all we have seen the whole industry unite in its condemnation of this type of pointless violence. Indeed, it is on this point that my analogy with Dickens falls down since these riots have no basis in legitimate political protest. You only had to read the shocking reports of looters trying on trainers in JD Sports for size before liberating them to realise these were opportunistic thugs.
I wish you all well out there – don’t let these awful events beat you. For the latest on the unrest or to share your experiences, please click here.